California Riding Magazine • March
, 2008

Winner's Circle

Joy Koch of EquiBase Arena Systems, HITS’ Senior Vice President
Tony Hitchcock, Luitpold Pharmaceuticals’ Brenda Bolts and
HITS’ Awards Coordinator Wendy Metzger with Rich Fellers and Flexible.
Photo: Flying Horse Photography

Fellers clinches the First of Four World Cup Qualifiers

Richard Fellers and Flexible won the $50,000 Tourneau FEI World Cup Qualifier, presented by Adequan at HITS Thermal on Feb. 2. Fellers outlasted a field of 19 combinations in the first round, and bested the five other pairs that advanced to the jump-off to secure the top prize in the first of four FEI World Cup qualifiers at HITS. All World Cup Qualifiers are being held in the new state-of-the-art covered EquiBase™ Arena Systems Ring at HITS.

“It was a great night for HITS,” said Fellers “The arena was packed with an enthusiastic crowd. It was a tremendous atmosphere and I am proud to be the winner of such a great class. It was a top-notch event.”
Richard Spooner and his mount Cristallo were first to go in the jump-off. He put the pressure on the other exhibitors in the jump-off when his clear round set the time to beat at 33.23 seconds. Next to go in order was Mandy Porter and her mount Summer. She had four faults and stopped the clocks at 39.38 to finish in fifth.

Fellers was third to go in the jump-off and stopped the clocks in 32.80 to establish the new pace with just two trips left. Guy Thomas and his mount Carino were fourth to go in the jump-off and they were clear all the way through the course until the final oxer when a single rail hit the floor for a total of four faults. The combination’s time of 34.64 would be good enough for fourth place.

Finally, sitting in the envious last-to-ride spot was Jill Humphrey and her mount Lou Bega. The combo was clear but their time of 33.58 would earn the pair third place. After the class, Fellers celebrated his win at the back gate with a Jeroboam bottle of Taittinger champagne presented to him by Joy Koch of EquiBase Arena Systems.

This info was provided courtesy of HITS, Inc.

Richard Spooner Wins his 100th Career Grand Prix

The “100 Grand Prix Victory Club” welcomed its second member on Jan. 25 when Richard Spooner and his mare Ezrah captured the blue ribbon in the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix at HITS Thermal. Spooner is the HITS Desert Circuit’s all-time leading money winner and is now only the second rider in the United States to secure 100 Grand Prix triumphs. Spooner is in elite company, as he shares the feat with Olympian Margie Engle who was the first to reach that mark.

“Richard is a tremendous competitor and I would certainly like to congratulate him,” said Engle, who is a regular exhibitor at HITS Saugerties during its spring and summer horse shows. “We were teammates a few times and one thing I can say about Richard is that he always takes a great shot.”

Spooner, who idolized show-jumping legend Hap Hansen when he was an up-and-coming rider, beat the veteran to the 100th win mark. Hansen, who has been sitting on 98 for a few years, watched from the VIP Oasis Club and was the first to congratulate Spooner.

“I was actually hoping Hap would get there first,” said Spooner. “He is a great competitor and he just might get to 150 wins before I do.”

After his victory, Spooner was honored in the VIP Oasis Club with a host of gifts, including a special cake prepared by Oasis Club Chef, Ric Orlando and champagne. HITS’ Senior Vice President Tony Hitchcock led the champagne toast to Spooner and said “Here’s to Richard and another 100 wins. It’s hard work and he makes it look easy.”

This info was provided courtesy of HITS, Inc.

California 4-H Team Score Big at Nationals

More than 800 youths from more than 30 states and a few from parts of Canada participated in the 88th Annual Western National Roundup Conference, Jan. 9-13 in Denver, CO. 4-H and FFA members between the ages of 14 and 19 qualify for the conference either by winning their home state’s contest or by being chosen as a state delegate. The National 4-H Horse Classic-Western division is comprised of five separate contests: Horse Public Speaking, Horse Demonstration, Horse Bowl, Hippology and Horse Judging contest. All horse contests provide contestants an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of equine-related subject matter in a competitive setting.

Congratulations to California’s team for placing second overall. The High Overall State Award is given to the state with the overall high score based on placings. The teams are awarded points for first through 10th team placings in bowl, judging, demonstrations, and on individual placings for public speaking and individual demonstrations.
Chelsea Beeson of Fresno County placed fifth in the horse public speaking contest. Horse public speaking is an individual event that invites each state to enter a qualifying individual. Topics must relate to the horse industry. Speeches are seven to 10 minutes in length and should not include any visual aids or handouts.

Individuals or teams of two may enter the horse demonstration contest. Presentations must relate to the horse industry, be of demonstration or illustrated talk format and be 10-15 minutes in length. Kaitlin Lawton of Kings County earned second place honors with her individual demonstration, and a team demonstration by Allison Burg and Nicki Davidson of Orange County placed fifth.

The California team of Paige Ryan of San Bernardino County, Rebekah Warren and Allison Anthony, both of Riverside County and Raquel Varela of San Diego County, placed fifth in the horse bowl contest. Horse bowl is run similar to jeopardy with two teams challenging each other at one time, answering horse related questions.

In the hippology contest, teams are tested on their overall knowledge of the equine species. There are four phases including: a written test, a judging phase, a station phase where contestants identify a variety of topics and a team problem phase where each team works together and then presents their answer to a judge. Annie Flocken of Orange County placed sixth and Emily Berry of Tulare County placed seventh in the individual judging phase. Other team members Marissa Silva of Alameda County and Masha Lefebvre of Riverside County aided the team in earning an eighth in the team exam phrase, a sixth in the team judging and 10th place overall award.

In the horse judging contest, teams of four are presented with live animals to judge and then have to present oral reasons for their placing to a panel of judges. The contest is made up of three to six halter or conformation classes and three to six performance classes.

The California team did very well in the individual reasons section with Emily Cehrs of Fresno County earning eighth place, and Rachel McPhail of Santa Barbara County placing 10th. Along with teammates Sarah Wilson and Jake Haeckl, both of San Bernardino County, the team placed seventh overall in halter judging, seventh in performance section, third in team reasons and sixth place overall.

Congratulations to the California team for a job well done!

Thank you to State 4-H Equine Advisor, Jeanne George, for providing this press release. To contact Jeanne e-mail her at For more information on California 4-H Programs visit their website,, or e-mail

WCAR Jumper Rider Grant Program Winners

Once again the West Coast Active Riders (WCAR) received many impressive applicants for the WCAR Jumper Rider Grant Program (formerly the Meritorious Rider Grant). A statement in the WCAR monthly newsletter said, “It was not easy for the judges’ panel to choose just two winners as many of the juniors and amateurs who applied deserved recognition for their success in school and in the sport of show jumping. We are proud of our West Coast achievers, from straight A’s to pre-med, working students and medal final winners.”

After much deliberation, the judges chose Sophie Benjamin and Laura Ware as the 2008 Jumper Rider Grant winners; both excellent students and riders.

Kim Farlinger and Cordoba win the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix at HITS Thermal.
Photo: © 2008 Flying Horse Photography

From worst to first!

It’s amazing what a difference a few days can make! Just ask Kim Farlinger who had an unlucky fall off her mount Cordoba in the $125,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by EMO at HITS Thermal on Feb 3. Five days later, the pair pulled off a complete 180-degree turn when they outlasted a field of 38 combinations to capture the blue ribbon in the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix at HITS Thermal.